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27 December 2016

Random temperature fluctuations may have made Earth habitable

Random temperature fluctuations in the mantle and on the planet’s surface could be the reason Earth is a habitable world with moving tectonic plates while other terrestrial planets in the solar system are inhospitable worlds, according to new research.


Commercial oyster farming could help increase biodiversity in Delaware Bay, scientists say

Commercial oyster aquacultures can restore lost biodiversity by cleaning up polluted waterways, according to new research. A new study finds oyster farms in the Delaware Bay increased biodiversity when introduced into the waterway and could possibly restore the bay to its previous, healthier state, according to the researchers.


26 December 2016

Hot springs in California host snapshot of early Earth conditions

Conditions in the hot alkaline springs of Paoha Island in Mono Lake, California, could be similar to Earth’s pre-oxygen environment billions of years ago, according to new research. Studying the springs could help scientists better understand microbial biodiversity as it evolved in the early Earth atmosphere.


23 December 2016

Horse hair can help improve accuracy of climate data

In a new study, researchers used horsehair to determine that latitude influences certain climate measurements. The finding could help scientists find other factors potentially affecting climate measurements and to better understand how to compare climate records from different locations, according to the study’s authors.


22 December 2016

Humidity may cloud sediment deposits used to study storms

Using sediment as an indicator of past hurricanes may not work well in hot, humid environments, a new study finds. The finding could change the way scientists hunt for evidence of past storms, according to the study’s authors.


Iconic bristlecone pines may not survive global climate change

Bristlecone pines—including Methusaleh, one of the world’s oldest trees—have lived in North America’s Great Basin for thousands of years. But warming temperatures due to climate change could cause trouble for the ancient trees by tipping the ecological balance in favor of the conifer’s neighbor, the limber pine, said scientists at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.


21 December 2016

New study differentiates between Utah’s natural and induced earthquakes

Mining activity caused nearly half of all earthquakes in Utah over the past three decades, according to a new study. By studying the epicenters of 6,846 earthquakes occurring in the state between 1982 and 2016, scientists at the University of Utah determined 3,957 of them occurred naturally and 2,889 were caused by coal mining.


16 December 2016

How do you track the mass of a tree over time? Watch it move.

Dancing trees may be able to teach scientists about tree health during a drought, according to a new study.


15 December 2016

Some corals and scallops better able to handle ocean acidification, study finds

Some coral and mollusk species are adjusting to acidifying ocean waters better than previously thought, according to new research.


Deposits discovered in Monterey Canyon’s mouth may cause marine landslides, study finds

Researchers have discovered a large concentration of sediment deposits at the end of Monterey Canyon, an underwater chasm beneath Monterey Bay, California. The sediment deposits are relatively young and may be more likely to catalyze underwater landslides than other sections of the canyon, according to the researchers who presented their discovery at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.


14 December 2016

Lake sediments may be key to predicting melting sea ice in Canadian Arctic

Sediment layers from a lake in the western Canadian Arctic may hold the key to predicting sea-ice loss and warming Arctic temperatures, new research finds.


Finger-like structures on Mars could be the result of ancient microbes

Finger-like rock structures on Mars could harbor potential evidence of past life on the Red Planet, according to new research. In 2007, NASA’s Spirit rover landed on Mars’ “Home Plate,” a flat 90-meter-long area within the Gusev crater. Since then, researchers have been trying to make sense of finger-like rock structures splayed across the landscape. The working hypothesis at the time was that these rocks started out as continuous layers but eroded into odd shapes by the touch of wind and sand over the years.


Magnetic fields help target buried mine waste for removal

Butte, Montana made national headlines last month after thousands of snow geese died in the toxic and acidic waters of the Berkeley Pit. The large, deep pool is the former site of a massive copper mine and is just one remnant of Butte’s extensive mining history. Over the past century and a half, heavy metals and acid from numerous local mines have seeped into the groundwater, forcing the city of Butte to rely on reservoirs for drinking water.


18 November 2016

Older Mayan pyramid detected within Chichén Itzá

Scientists in Mexico have found evidence for a third and earlier—more purely Mayan—pyramid inside of the famous and iconic Pyramid of El Castillo at Chichén Itzá, in Yucatán. Using a non-destructive technique that employed hundred of electrodes deployed on the surface of the pyramid, the researchers also confirmed previous discoveries of a second pyramid, as well as their own 2014 discovery of a partially water-filled sinkhole beneath the pyramid.